Business travel is undergoing a sea change with more millennials joining the continually growing workforce and technologies including chatbots, AI and voice interfaces becoming mainstream. Travel management tools, these days, are built to harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics. Here is why companies, big or small, should try to go the whole hog in integrating AI and analytics into travel:
Let’s start with the problems that companies face with traditional booking systems: traditional systems are transaction–focussed and supplier–driven. Some platforms do offer aggregated content, and it is up to the user to find the best logical option, which often can prove tricky. Though most companies do have a travel policy in place including spending caps and lowest logical fare, very little does the travel management tool used by them complement in terms of transparency, recommendations and personalisation features; in other words – they just aren’t smart enough!
The other issue can be the lack of proper and regular insights that can help optimise their business travel expenses, given the fact that almost of 95% of companies still stick to e–mail for planning, approving and managing booking process. This is where exactly AI fits in: AI assisted booking service, either chat–based or voice–based interaction, can improve the efficiency of booking, and improves product and content personalisation.
An employee has to tick several attributes before his or her trip is okayed and booked: risk, comfort and compliance. As for the booking, first, a travel management tool, with the help of some algorithms, helps draw out a real–time price range from the available vendors or service providers in the market and recommends the traveller to pick the lowest possible option out there. Second, the traveller gets to see recommendations that are based on traveller comfort and travel compliance policy.
Sajit Chacko of Tripeur says, “The use of powerful data insights and unique algorithm helps map the traveller’s behaviour and ensures he or she falls in line with the company’s policy, displaying the best possible match within a particular budget. Also, the amount of time and effort taken to book a required travel option, which satisfies both the traveller and the employer, is almost reduced by half. Chatbots, on the other hand, automate most customer interactions and messaging involved in a trip.”
Another evolving challenge is how ‘bleisure’ is fast changing the scope of business travel. Sajith adds, “Travel management tools are definitely improving the ways bleisure is conducted, understanding the expectations of travellers and how best the expectations can be fulfilled.”